EXCLUSIVE: Foreign Affairs Ministry Permanent Secretary, Civil Service Acting Chairman Plan To Embezzle Over N1bn With Promotion Exercise

The soon-to-retire Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Ambassador Olukunle Akindele Bamgbose, and the Acting Chairman, Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC), Dr. Chima Obi Odunze, are spearheading a corrupt scheme to embezzle over N1billion in the conduct of the 2018 promotion examination for 59 foreign service officers. The exam is scheduled to hold on July 7, 2018 in four centres: New York, USA; London, UK; New Delhi, India; and Nairobi, Kenya.

According to a Telex Cirtel A.105 transmitted on June 29, 2018 from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Headquarters to the missions hosting the four examination centres, a total of 110 government officials from MFA and Federal Civil Service Commission are scheduled to jet out of Nigeria, some on business class tickets, to supervise only 59 promotion-seeking candidates. 

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Each of this 110 government official is on 10 days estacode allowance payable in US dollars.

The centre-by-centre breakdown of the treacherous plan goes like this:

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and 15 senior staff of the ministry will be joined by 13 high-ranking officials from the Federal Civil Service Commission to supervise only 14 candidates. This means that every candidate sitting for the exam at the New York centre will be supervised by more than two people from Nigeria!

At the London centre, 13 Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be joined by the Acting Chairman, Federal Civil Service Commission and 10 other officials from the commission, totalling 24, to supervise 18 candidates.

At the New Delhi centre, 11 officials from Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be joined by 14 officials from the Federal Civil Service Commission (total 25) in supervising 17 candidates. 

The Nairobi centre is even more staggering. Here, 18 officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be joined by 14 Federal Civil Service Commission senior officials (total 32) to supervise only 10 candidates. This means that each candidate at the Nairobi centre will be supervised by over three officials from Nigeria.

It should be noted that this is not the first, second or third time that exams are being conducted at the four centres. It has become an annual jamboree for officials from the two Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to waste tax payers’ money on an exercise that is enmeshed in corruption. The candidates are stationed in Foreign Missions, earning dollars, and are compelled to contribute money for the payment of hotel accommodation of the visiting Foreign Affairs Ministry officials, and ‘kola’ for the examiners from FCSC. This is an unwritten rule that no candidate dare stand up to challenge.

The difference between this year’s exercise and the previous editions’ is the sheer number of supervising officials from Nigeria, whose ranks range from Acting Chairman, Permanent Secretary to a Chief Detail. 

Curiously, also, the plans of the soon-to-retire Permanent Secretary to deliberately sink the ministry into further debt comes at a time when many Nigerian embassies are struggling to pay utility bills and staff allowances. It is also mind-boggling that he also agreed to allow no less than 20 directing staff of his ministry leave the country at the same time on a self-enriching exercise.

Meanwhile, the exams for Directorate level officers scheduled to take place at the headquarters in Abuja on June 30, 2018 has been rescheduled to a later date in July 2018 to allow sufficient time for these officials to make their travel plans.

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